Friday, July 24, 2009

Fortune: Behind Ning’s $750 million play

"Ning CEO Gina Bianchini is getting lots of curious looks and occasional “Congratulations!” here at FortuneBrainstorm Tech. The news leaked this week that her start-up raised $15 million at a company valuation of…get this, $750 million.

That’s a stunning number, and incidentally, she didn’t ask for the new funding. On Tuesday night, before Bianchini and I both arrived here in Pasadena, California forFortune’s annual tech confab, we saw each other at a dinner hosted by eBay (EBAY) North America boss Stephanie Tilenius in Silicon Valley. Bianchini (at far left in the photo to the right) that night confirmed the news about Ning’s new funding and told me that the investor, a venture capitalist she knew at Lightspeed Venture Partners, called, wanting to invest $15 million. Ning has sufficient cash, having already raised more than $100 million. Bianchini and Marc Andreessen, the Netscape founder who is Ning’s co-founder and chairman, accepted the new money anyway."

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